Monday, June 9, 2014

Princeton Visit

Our next stop: Princeton.

Princeton was okay, but I didn't like it much. Their mandatory Senior Thesis program sounded interesting. Their campus architecture was beautiful. 

However, the person leading our information session was so long-winded that there was no time left for questions. There was no mention of Princeton's famous eating clubs in the info session, and only a sentence or two for them on the campus tour. It makes me wonder if the subject is purposefully being avoided.

Princeton is also a much larger school than Swarthmore. At Swarthmore, the largest classes, introductory level classes of which a student might only take a few, are around 50 people. At Princeton, these classes are 450 people.

I didn't like how Princeton felt, although there were some aspects of it I liked.

Swarthmore Visit

The first college on our journey was Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. I liked Swarthmore College - it reminded me a lot of my own highschool.

It was exciting to see that Swarthmore seemed very committed to sustainability and being environmentally friendly.

We were also able to eat gluten free in the campus snack bar, a big plus.

Swarthmore is a small private liberal arts college. At least on the tour and in the info session, they claimed to have strong math, science, and engineering programs. They had a shady amphitheater (Scott Ampitheater) used for ceremonies and other events. Their library has a ground floor for collaborative study, and each upper level becomes increasingly quieter as you go up. The Crum Woods, part of campus, are filled with walking trails and so on. Unfortunately, outdoor adventure does not seem to have a strong presence.

Philadelphia is a 20 minute train ride away. Many events are available on campus, and free to students. Swarthmore students can also take classes at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and UPenn, as well as attend any of those college's events that are free to that college's own students.

At the end of their sophomore year,Swarthmore  students write a paper to declare their major and plan how to reach that goal. About a third of students also choose to participate in the Honors Program and have even smaller classes, and more depth to their studies. Honors students go through an external examination in order to graduate.

Overall, I think Swarthmore can stay on my list for now.

The college visit journey begins.